This statement is just patently untrue and either our President is being badly advised by his apparently sycophantic advisors or even worse, he is deliberately not telling the truth! I trust it is the former, especially as he is an ex-Minister of Lands! I say this based on table 3.7 of the 1991 Technical Committee where “white plus non-Namibian” ownership was 33.5 million hectares vs. “black” ownership of nearly one million.
The Namibia Agricultural Union statistics now show that PD ownership (private) equals 6.3 million hectares (1 933 farms) with an additional 3.3 million hectares belonging to Government or resettlement. This shows 25% of commercial land in Namibia belongs to PDs and that government's BEE (black elite empowerment) policy is the primary way forward with willing-buyer, willing-seller working well. Our newly enriched politically subservient class is driving the required ownership pattern forward in terms of rural ownership of commercial land.
What is failing is the “land policy” to resettle the poor PDs with vast amounts of cash having to be paid to support in excess of 80 000 who occupy non-sustainable plots. The real failure is the Ministry of Lands. I thus ask our President to please review his position and the policy of the Ministry of Lands, especially where the now privileged PDs have entered their arena with this information in mind. Our current trends indicate that the government's policy, especially towards BEE, is working well for commercial land targets.
However there are two other major problems relating to land. The first is the poorly documented or certainly an area where access by the public to statistics is missing. That is the increasing fencing of community land by the powerful that, despite having been declared unlawful, is expanding with indications that some of the “owners” are subletting this land to non-Namibians, especially from the east.
Evidence is scarce but it has certainly been a problem in other countries of our region; is it happening here? This practice, which often marginalises the real poor PDS from traditional grazing patterns and water, if true, is certainly a route to “revolution” as referred to by our President. We must quickly come clean on this to avoid an explosion of social dissatisfaction! The remaining area is urban land becoming increasingly scarce and expensive to such an extent that even lower level management cadres of GRN cannot afford property. The lower grades are being forced into worse and worse circumstances as the urban migration rate increases to our towns and Windhoek.
Again the potential for social unrest is rising and people have to spend more and more on somewhere to live and have less and less to send their kids to school or put food in their bellies. BEE and their financial deals with SOE related institutions (look GIPF) are amplifying the problem daily. The rapidly increasing debt load and associated decrease in disposable income is solid evidence of this reality. A real source of social disorder?
The urban land problem requires innovation, the definition of “Trust” governed land and property to cater for the less rich and probably more important our informal shack dwellers. Plunder is happening, maybe the urban sprawl leads to urban brawls?